Monday, July 17th, 2017

Calvin Harris ft. Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry & Big Sean – Feels



Lauren Gilbert: why.

Will Rivitz: “Feels” is a nice, if unexciting, bit of pop-reggae, featuring nice, if unexciting, features from Pharrell and Katy Perry, and at the very least everything is pleasant enough OH GOODY HERE COMES BIG SEAN LUMBERING IN TO TRAINWRECK THE SONG.

Thomas Inskeep: “Feels” isn’t even a word, goddammit. And heaven knows I do not wanna catch anything Katy Perry’s singing about. But Pharrell is perfect for this poppy, summery cod-reggae groove of Harris’s, and Big Sean does what he’s paid to do, ably. This is one of the lesser tracks on Harris’s wonderful Funk Wav Bounces, Volume 1, but a great palate-cleanser on top 40 radio from the flood of trop-house. 

Cassy Gress: Sounds like Calvin stole the synth line from someone’s 1994 Sandals Resort home video. In this analogy, Pharrell is the sweaty customer whose Aloha shirt is buttoned down just one button too far, Katy works at the gift shop and left her feels on the kitchen counter at home while rushing out the door in the morning, and Big Sean is the lifeguard who signed up for this because of all the hot chicks in bikinis but is honestly getting kinda tired of the whole thing.

Alfred Soto: Pharrell should’ve been the director of a health and wellness center at a local public university, where his admonitory chants would’ve had spinning classes in stitches. Think of Big Sean as the local comic relief, a riot at bar mitzvahs and Sundays in the park. And Katy Perry? The star making the entrance.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: The feature list is enough to crown this the worst of the four singles, but at this point, Harris’s new shtick has also become exceedingly tedious. Like being on vacation for a bit too long, the novelty has worn off and I’m ready for this all to end. I already had Funk Wav fatigue when “Rollin” dropped, so it’s appropriate that “Feels” gives off unsavory tourist trap vibes.

Will Adams: What started off as a promising exploration of sleek, summery disco has resulted in a truly boring album in which Harris reprints the same template ten times. Now all the fun has died, so I’m left to find my own fun in “Feels”: Katy Perry’s terrible diction causing me to hear “don’t be afraid to catch fish,” the prospect of retroactive crediting due to the bass line’s strong resemblance to “Let’s Groove,” or Big Sean turning out to be the best part of the song. Eh, I suppose none of those are really that fun. Never mind.

Katherine St Asaph: Pharrell loses the good parts of “Get Lucky” and makes the substitute of gallons of oil and smarm, Calvin Harris contributes JezzBall sound effects, Katy Perry contributes 5 per cent of her voice (a small number indeed), Big Sean is present; the feels I feel are horrifyingly close to Donald Trump watching Daft Punk.

Jonathan Bradley: Atavistic Brits with a taste for trans-Atlantic funk: Calvin Harris has A-list guests, but in retrospect, Jay Kay’s hats were a lot more fun. Pharrell Williams, a soul presence who needs a reason other than vocal chops to justify his appearance on a track, doesn’t improve on “Get Lucky” by having him over a ghosted Jamiroquai beat rather than Daft Punk. “Slide” coasted on easygoing charm, which is the exact opposite of Katy Perry’s pouted “don’t be afraid to catch feels.” And Big Sean’s a suitable addition to the playbill in that he combines Pharrell’s enervated presence with Perry’s aggravating one: oleaginous and awkward simultaneously, he’s Julius Kelp and Buddy Love at the same time. 

Maxwell Cavaseno: I’d say “Go figure that the least funky of the recent Calvin Harris singles has Katy Perry on it,” but frankly I imagine a great amount of the fault is old Half-Pipe P. 2017 Pharrell is a giant case of “yo why the fuck are you here” as Pharrell refuses to actually provide hip-hop beats and only sporadically raps, pretending to instead be some pseudo-muso-soulman with a perpetually trash singing voice that shouldn’t have been allowed to expand beyond hooks and novelty songs. More and more, Chad Hugo’s tenure behind Williams’s best work seems to define the hollowness of his former collaborator in the 2010s. That shouldn’t be what defines this song, except Katy Perry’s spot is essentially transparent and the idea that Big Sean could demonstrate a personality for staying power in listeners seems laughable. Ultimately the weakest result out of a fine period for Harris.

Austin Brown: “Slide” and “Rollin,” the two gems thus far from Calvin Harris’s Funk Wav rebrand, work for how they ride the line between the party and the afterparty, the flirting and the second guessing that follows. “Feels,” on the other hand, works because it’s cockily oblivious to introspection, but not in a braggadocious way. Instead it’s transparently dorky, from the parakeet single cover, to Katy Perry somehow selling the line “don’t be afraid to catch feels” in the year of our Lord 2017, to one of the Big Sean-est Big Sean verses in years. With the fizzy bass and overwhelming sense of perk, it’s superficial and crass — but it’s also undeniably self-aware in the way the best Judd Apatow films are.

Reader average: [6.83] (6 votes)

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7 Responses to “Calvin Harris ft. Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry & Big Sean – Feels”

  1. Just when he was beginning to do better, I think this is the lowest Calvin Harris has ever scored here. I like it; the first song from the album that truly sounds like a hit to me (I mean, “Let’s Groove” is pretty enduring…) and probably the only one that has been, anywhere approaching his standards.

  2. It’s a shame bc the entire album save for this song is incredible

  3. What groove is he replicating here bc it’s fairly obvious for some reason and I can’t place it

  4. I Saw The Sign maybe?

  5. Yeah… this is a no for me. I also don’t get the hype over the album – it’s middling and kind of boring, tbh.

  6. The bassline is almost “Upside Down.”

  7. (i was struggling with that too)